Addressing Air Quality: How the EPA Helps Mitigate Health Risks
Long-term exposure to poor air quality poses serious health risks. The concern over air quality has put the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) into action. According to the EPA’s website, people spend about 90% of time indoors. Addressing indoor air quality helps reduce affects, especially on vulnerable groups like children and the elderly.
Grant Funding for Schools
K-12 schools in low-income, disadvantaged, and Tribal communities are eligible to adopt an indoor air quality (IAQ) management plan. This plan prioritizes EPA recommendations to provide a save indoor environment for both students and staff. Underprivileged schools can receive grants to monitor and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants.
The grant funding helps schools reduce exposure to harmful air pollutants and recognize when poor indoor air quality needs to be addressed.
Awareness of Secondhand Vape in Schools
The EPA helps raise awareness on risks of secondhand vape in schools. Vaping in schools is hard to crack down on, as vapes don’t give off the strong scent that traditional cigarettes do. This gives students the confidence to use vape and e-cigarette products discreetly on campus. Use of vape and e-cigarette products indoors puts others at risk of secondhand vape exposure. By keeping schools aware of secondhand vape risks, it allows them to enforce no-vape policies and use indoor air quality monitoring to ensure a safe environment for both staff and students.
IAQ Action Kit
Guides and checklists offered by the EPA can be used to check the safety of each school. Their reference guide reminds schools to stay aware of IAQ-related risks, such as mold, radon, and secondhand smoke. When harmful pollutants are prevalent, the EPA offers guides to help mitigate those risks, keeping students safe from the harmful damage of poor indoor air quality.
How Does Indoor Air Quality Affect Students?
Research has shown that poor indoor air quality can have a detrimental impact on student performance. According to the American Lung Association, 41% of schools need to update or replace their ventilation systems. When poor indoor air quality impacts students’ physical health, it can lead to a decline in attendance. The effects of poor air quality themselves can trigger pre-existing conditions, such as asthma, or risk creating new health conditions that make it hard for students to concentrate. Risks to teachers can also impact student performance. When teachers are not in good health because of poor indoor air quality, it can hinder their ability to teach.
Addressing indoor air quality concerns early helps avoid issues leading to poor student performance and attendance. It also reduces the risk of long-term health conditions that could result from harmful air pollutants. Monitoring the air quality in schools allows schools to become aware of issues long before they create concerns. Air pollutants can be hard to see or detect, so having a proper indoor air quality monitoring system in place helps schools stay on top of ensuring that the environment is safe.